This is the guest post by Lea Kuscer
Content marketing is a term you have certainly heard of while scrolling through numerous advertising and tech-related blogs. It seems as if a business’ success depends almost exclusively on content, but how exactly did that come into play?
Let’s look at the presumed origins of the content marketing and how your brand can make the most of it.
The Origins of Content Marketing
Some people argue that the birth of content marketing can be traced back to ancient cave paintings from 2500 B.C. Others claim that all started in 1732 when the founding father, Ben Franklin, published his Poor Richard’s Almanack.
We cannot positively say that the two previous works can be classified as content marketing sources, but following is the fact that can’t be as easily rejected. John Deere, a manufacturer of agricultural machinery, started issuing its magazine The Furrow in 1895.
This printed publication reached a staggering number of more than 4 million customers in 1912. It still exists today and reaches around 2 million customers worldwide. What’s the story behind their success?
Well, they’ve been telling stories and focusing on their faithful readers (farmers), rather than the equipment they want to sell for more than a hundred years now.
John Deere can undoubtedly take the crown for pioneering in consumer-driven advertising and a trust-based relationship with its (potential) customers.
A few years later on, in 1904, Jell-O began started giving out free booklets with recipes. Their sales were almost nonexistent until they changed their strategy. By 1906, they earned nearly $1 million in sales and became “America’s Most Favorite Dessert.”
We can see that Jell-O practiced the first targeting-driven advertising with its recipes. They were mainly distributed door-to-door to housewives. Jell-O ads appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, a magazine primarily read by the aforementioned targeted group.
Technological Advancements to Improve Strategies
When radio became popular in the 1920s, companies immediately started to reach out via frequencies to their customers. One such company, Procter & Gamble, began sponsoring NBC’s daytime serial called Ma Perkins in 1933.
The serial soon became popular under the name Oxydol’s Own Ma Perkins because they were advertising Oxydol, a soap product for laundry washing.
The show was aired at a certain time to target primarily housewives. In breaks during the serial, Oxydol was marketed as the product that makes clothes “white without bleaching”. The term “soap opera” was coined due to the serial’s fame.
After radio came television and Exxon (at the time called Esso), oil and gas company, started advertising via video commercials. Their popular slogan “Put a tiger in your tank” made their brand well know.
Besides oil and gas, they were even able to sell merchandise, such as plush tiger tales.
The 1990s represent the most important period in content marketing as we know it today. The term “content marketing” was first used by John F. Oppedahl and The American Society for Newspaper Editors in 1996.
The use of computers shifted the center of interest to digital advertising. Blogs, formerly known as weblogs, started appearing in the late 1990s, first serving as online diaries for some people.
Later companies took up the blogging practice to made their brand visible and content marketing started evolving.
With the arrival of social media sites, it has become much more practical for business owners to reach their audience. 73% of large-scale companies are hiring content strategists. Content marketing changed the way of advertising for the majority of brands since the early 2000s.
What’s in It for You?
Efficient content marketing can develop lasting relationships based on trust with your potential customers. It also brings your online business a higher visibility and improved brand awareness. Finally, it ranks your brand higher and makes it more valuable.
… under the presumption, you do it correctly. But how to succeed in content marketing?
Following are the few crucial steps for maintaining a beneficial content marketing strategy.
- Know your goals and plan ahead
You have to know what end result you are aiming for. Setting your goals straight is the first crucial aspect an online retailer can make to start a profitable strategy.
That strategy must be developed in order to reach the final destination. You must take your time researching and create a plan to reach the targeted audience. Planning ahead makes up a half of every prosperous advertising strategy.
- Know your audience
Next step is to know the audience you’re offering your products to. Targeting consists of determining the age, sex and location of your potential customers. The information needed depends on what type of business you run.
- Get personal
The most important step along the way is how you approach your customers through ads and social media. So how do you get closer and develop a personal relationship with your supporters? First, you must talk to them and survey them to get to know their preferences.
Keep it short and meaningful so that they don’t leave before finishing the questionnaire.
Next, your approach should be based on evoking the targeted audience’s emotions. If your strategy fails to do that, start all over again.
- Make use of current affairs
Marketing tactics your business utilizes should include actual and relevant content delivery. Talking about current affairs is the best method to engage customers. People love to hear information about the newest trends and events.
Also, make sure to post daily on social media pages and business’ websites so that customers could be reminded of your brand.
- Make use of online tools
Technology improvements through the years helped us simplifying online marketing. If you run an online retail business, tools like Google Analytics could provide you insightful information about your website’s traffic.
Another widespread tools among online retailers are the eCommerce platforms. These platforms can manage everything in your online store. They allow users to set up the store, to send customized deals, to take care of analyzing the traffic and to improve checkout options.
If you think your business needs guidance and ease of management, consider utilizing an eCommerce platform.
- Continue doing what works best
The last useful tip for running great content marketing strategy is to proceed with the practices that offer the most potential in your campaign. It is better to use the same proven method, than to risk everything.
Eventually, you should switch to newer strategies, but continue with the old ones until your customers give you a hint it’s time to change.
From, the nineteenth century up until now, content marketing has been attracting customers with immersive storytelling. If your business still doesn’t enjoy the benefits of well-developed content marketing strategy, it is time to try it out. Just make sure to follow our tips along the way.
We will love to hear your thoughts on this post.